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Jean Condit dies following illness at age 87
Mother of congressman, wife of pastor remembered
Velma Jean Condit, seen here with husband Rev. Adrian Condit, died Feb. 13 in Hughson. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Jean Condit, 87, the matriarch of the Ceres' most well-known family, has died.

The wife of Village Chapel Freewill Baptist Church pastor Adrian Condit and mother of former Congressman Gary Condit died Monday, Feb. 13. Battling Parkinson's and dementia, she died at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson.
A well-attended funeral service was held Sunday afternoon at the church.

Jean Condit came to Ceres in August 1967 from Tulsa, Okla., with her husband who was offered the pastorship at the small church across from Caswell Elementary School. Before coming to Ceres she gave birth to former Modesto Police Lt. Burl G. Condit in 1946, Gary Condit in 1948, Darrell Wayne "Hoppy" Condit in 1952 and daughter Dovie Elaine Condit Wilson in 1955.

The Condits' 72-year marriage started in 1945. They had met in 1943 in Locust Grove, Okla.

Son Burl said his mother earned her nursing degree while faithfully serving her family. After moving to Stanislaus County she worked as a nurse at Memorial Hospital and retired while working at Scenic General Hospital.

"She worked graveyard shift her entire career as a nurse so she could be home during the day and evenings with her family," he said. "I never went to school one day in my life that she didn't have my Levis pressed and ironed, with a crease down the front, and my shirt was always pressed and ironed. Working lady, hard-working lady. Great woman but you would never know it because she was so quiet."

Burl said her mother was working toward her nursing degree at a hospital in Coffeyville, Kansas, where they spent time, when she was attacked by a violent drunk. He broke a glass and stabbed her in the neck.

"It was real serious," said Condit. "I remember when she came home that morning she had blood on her white starched uniform. All the kids were crying. We didn't know what was happening. We thought it was very, very serious but she did not let that bother her. They just sewed her up and she kept on working that night, came home the next morning at 7 o'clock after she got off graveyard shift. It was quite an experience for her but it didn't deter her from becoming a nurse because that's what her career was all about."

Jean supported the ministry of her husband and the church. She served many years as a Sunday school teacher, was a church bus captain, and was active in the Women's Fellowship.

Jean Condit was supportive of son Gary when he decided to enter Ceres politics in 1972. They watched their son go from city councilman to mayor to county supervisor to state Assemblyman and U.S. Congressman. Everything changed inside Ceres' most prestigious family in 2001 when Congressman Condit was consumed in a major scandal after the disappearance of missing intern Chandra Levy. She told CNN that the scandal and resulting media firestorm had "been hell at times." The 9/11 terrorist attack took the scandal out of headlines, but the damage had already been done to Condit's political career; he lost the Democratic primary for his re-election bid to Dennis Cardoza in 2002. Following the stinging defeat, Gary and Carolyn packed up and moved to Scottsdale, Ariz. Adrian and Jean Condit sold their Gail Court home and lived in Arizona for a while. Rev. Condit said they never really left Ceres but when they returned they moved into the Acorn Lane home of Gary and Carolyn.

In a 2013 interview with the Courier, Rev. Condit said that his long marriage to former high school sweetheart Jean kept him going, calling her "a great inspiration."

Velma Jean Tidwell Condit was born June 26, 1929 in Earlsboro, Okla., to George and Isheila Tidwell.

She enjoyed singing, playing the piano and the accordion, sewing, ceramics, and bicycle riding. Her greatest joy was cooking for and spending time with family.

eBesides her husband and children, Mrs. Condit leaves behind her brother, Jim Tidwell of Oklahoma City, Okla.; her grandchildren, Buck (Kim) Condit, Jaymes (Kacey) Smith, Cadee Condit and Brock Condit; and great-grandchildren, Channce Condit, Couper Condit, Gary Matthew Condit, Kendall Jean Smith, Kenya Jade Smith, Chloe Condit, Madison Condit, Colin Condit, Averie Condit, Ethan Condit, Erik Condit and Blu Condit Thompson. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Ralph McKinney, and sister Eula Lee Murphy.

The family prefers that remembrances be sent to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto CA 95356.